Most presidents, having presided over the Syrian debacle, would be chastened. But not the Great and Mighty Obama. He’s decided to begin to rewrite history so that he emerges as the hero.
Consider what Mr. Obama, in Stockholm earlier today, said in response to a question about Syria:
First of all, I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation entitled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous things happening on the ground there need to be answered for. So, when I said in a press conference that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn’t something I just kind of made up. I didn’t pluck it out of thin air. There’s a reason for it.
The president added this:
My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line and America and Congress’s credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.
So literally everyone else in the world is to blame except the president.
Mr. Obama appears to be suffering from a variation of what psychiatrists refer to as dissociation, which is characterized by everything from mild to severe detachment from reality and one’s immediate surroundings.
In this particular case, the president seems to have dissociative amnesia, apparently having forgotten that a year ago last month he did, in fact, draw a red line. (Note the use of the first-person pronouns by the president–“That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”) The president may have forgotten, too, that he promised that crossing this red line would be a “game changer” (it was not). That Assad had to go (Assad is still in power, stronger than before). That he promised to arm Syrian rebels (he hasn’t). That his “coalition of the willing” may include, if we’re lucky, one other country besides America. And that on the matter of the Use of Force Resolution he was against going to Congress before he was for going to Congress.
The cause of Mr. Obama’s dissociation appears to be the psychological trauma induced by his multi-year fiasco in Syria. And in order to cope, we are seeing signs of anger, petulance, and hero syndrome and, as is always the case with this president, blame shifting.
On a slightly more serious note, Mr. Obama’s presidency is being wrecked by reality. He’s being exposed at every turn, and in every crisis, as inept. He can’t handle that truth so he’s trying to distort it.
There’s something poignant and painful in watching Obama’s presidency collapse and seeing what it’s doing to the man who promised to repair the world and slow the rise of the oceans.